Today is packing day for my Carnival Breeze cruise to the Western Caribbean! I really love travel, but I really hate packing; this is an annoying dichotomy because of course I need to pack for every trip. I’m not one of those people who pack a week in advance for a trip, but I”m also not one of those people who pack the morning of the plane flight (Mr. Travelholic; I’m looking at you; I wonder if most men pack at the last minute like my husband does?).
In any event, I usually like to pack two days out which gives me enough time to make any purchases of last-minute needed items. However, today is not the first day I’ve THOUGHT about packing; there are a few preliminary things I do about a week prior to a trip:
1. Figure out what size I am for the trip. My closet has a full wardrobe in sizes 8, 10 and 12 thanks to fluctuations from age, dieting, medications (prednisone, get back ye devil med) and such. For this trip, 10 it is.
2. Figure out if there are any camera-related or other items I need to order off of Amazon.com, and then order those items via Amazon Prime in time to arrive for the journey. For this trip I needed a case for my DxO One (I lost my case on a recent trip) and a couple of SD cards. And I bought a new carry-on that I’ll discuss below.
3. Figure out if I need to do any shopping out of town (which I did for this trip; see my post on my San Francisco trip).
4. Take in any dry cleaning for clothes that I want to pack.
5. Make a list of anything I need to buy locally (good DEET bug spray–don’t want Zika for this trip–and a gentle SPF sunscreen for faces); I usually make a drug store run for such things right before the trip.
So, with all my pre-packing chores done, I’m ready to pack today. One of the things I’ve learned from years of travel is to pack as light as possible. So, for an 8 day cruise, I’ll pack everything into a 25″ Travel Pro lightweight spinner and then for this trip all of my carry-ons into a small under-seat roll-on case by (the two bags in the first picture).
Until this trip, I always packet the spinner luggage, a Brighton rolling carry-on and then a separately carried purse//camera bag. I absolutely love the Brighton carry-on; we have been all over the world together. I have never seen a case with more pockets, it is amazing for multiple electronics and it looks great too. That said, there is no really large inner pocket in this carry on (the burgundy one, pictured) so I have to separately carry the purse//camera, and the Brighton is a heavy bag. The Brighton was also an expensive bag (about $300 when I bought it) but it has lasted beautifully for 10 years and yet still looks brand new. It pains me that Brighton no longer makes this fantastic bag.
But, for this trip I wanted a slightly different carry-on. I wanted a similarly sized bag but I wanted it to be lighter and, most important, I wanted a bag that had a large inner compartment as well as a few strategic pockets. I wanted the large inner compartment to fit my large iPad (what I blog on now when traveling), my Fossil purse, and my 35mm Nikon camera with a zoom lens. I need an easily accessed outer pocket that fits our boarding passes for plane and cruise ship and our passports. I measured my items, went on Amazon, and came up with the black Delsey bag you see above which fits my items perfectly. So now when I want to travel with my 35mm camera and only one carry-on, I’ll use this new bag. It cost only $69, so we’ll have to see how it holds up to travel. Also, just as I’ve used the Brighton bag alone for weekend trips, I used the new bag for my recent San Francisco trip and it was just the right size.
Anyway, back to my actual packing for today. Packing for cruises is a little tricky, but very straightforward for me. I love wearing sun dresses on a cruise (being tiny, I’m not much of a shorts gal; not very attractive on my shorter legs). I also pack jeans, swimsuits and swimsuit covers, capris and some tops (for touring for off-boat when going into towns, jungles etc), 2 dressier outfits for Carnival’s formal nights (nothing extreme like gowns though), and then 2 pairs of comfortable sandals, dressy shoes, walking shoes, the usual unmentionables, a cosmetics bag, a first aid bag, a hat, and I’m pretty much done. Oh, wait, sadly these days I also take a walking stick and medications and topical pain crimes and knee wraps and such for my rheumatoid arthritis. This is an annoying new reality, but all of these items fit in the spinner and I need to be prepared so a flare-up doesn’t ruin the trip. I probably should mention that I always carry-on any essential medications.
How do you pack for trips? What are your essential bags and/or travel items? Are you a light packer or a heavy packer? Let me know in the comments section below!